And Be a Villain (Nero Wolfe, Book 13) by Rex Stout

By Rex Stout

Unique ebook: 1948

Radio speak express host Madeline Fraser's worst nightmare comes precise whilst one among her on-air site visitors collapses on the mike after consuming a pitcher of the sponsor's beverage.

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Extra info for And Be a Villain (Nero Wolfe, Book 13)

Sample text

The alley was narrow and gave of the cool of the surrounding stones; the ground below us was wet and foul odors drifted up from the puddles of putrid water and the moldering garbage that littered the ground. We discovered a wooden crate set against the wall almost for our convenience, and I could scarce believe that in this part of town an item that might fetch at least a few pence would not be salvaged and sold within minutes of its abandonment. Indeed, I should not have believed it, but more concerned with Kate, I dismissed my curiosity almost at once.

Old Balfour only relented once his brother merchants convinced him that to pursue this mad course was to risk riot and destruction of all their trades. That this merchant’s son should assert that his was an old family was patently absurd—it was not even an old trading family. And while in those days there was, as there is now, something decidedly English about a wealthy merchant, it was a relatively new and uncertain assertion that the son of such a man could claim the status of gentleman. My declaration that our families were of a piece sent him into a kind of fit.

It was a harsh blow. His family was an upstart, and he knew it. He had earned that most ambiguous title of gentleman through his father’s aggressive dealings as a tobacco merchant, not through the majesty of his bloodlines. Indeed, I recalled that old Balfour had made a bit of a stir among the more established tobacco merchants by angering the men he hired to unload his vessels. Dock laborers have, by custom, always been given scant wages, and they have evened out their earnings through a kind of quiet redistribution of the goods they handle.

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